Kansas families speak out against Kansas Supreme Court

(AP Photo/Topeka Capital-Journal, Thad Allton)
(AP Photo/Topeka Capital-Journal, Thad Allton)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Murder victim’s families are speaking out about the push to unseat four Kansas Supreme Court Justices, who’ve overturned several death penalty cases.

It’s a hot button issue on the November ballot.

Both sides are speaking out in this heated discussion. One family in particular joined the movement publicly Wednesday, saying they want to unseat four Kansas Supreme Court Justices who overturned death sentences in other cases.

“She was taken away way too soon and is missing a lot.”

Talking about their daughter’s murder is still very painful for Cindy Sanderholm and her husband, Brian.

“I could still do that day. Minute, by minute it’s just burned into my soul,” said Cindy.

The Sanderholm’s youngest daughter, Jodi, was brutally murdered 9 years ago at the age of 19, by Justin Thurber, who was given the death penalty.

In Wednesday’s news conference, the family announced they’re joining the group “Kansans for Justice” to help get rid of the current justices who’ve overturned death sentences in cases like the Carr brothers.

“We live by laws. We’re supposed to abide by laws but what the supreme courts telling us now is, it’s okay you do whatever you want to do. You don’t have to worry about it, because we’re not going to give you the punishment that’s set forth,” said Brian Sanderholm.

“We wanted to make sure that our daughters case wasn’t over turned and we’d have to go through the fight that the Carr brothers victim’s families that are going through right now,” explained Cindy.

However, officials with the Kansans for Fair Courts, a group defending the justices, say Jodi Sanderholm’s case is different from the Carr brother’s case, and, is still being considered by the Supreme Court.

“It was a heinous murder and this man is on death row and so this is the problem we run into when we take these very highly charged emotional issues and politicize them,” stated Ryan Wright, the Executive Director, Kansans for Fair Court.

Wright did say the Supreme Court has upheld three death sentences since the Carr brother’s case.

He argues that if voters decide to have the justices thrown out, Governor Brownback will have the final say in appointing new judges.

“Why in the world would we give Governor Brownback the power to appoint 5 of the 7 Supreme Court Justices that could impact this state for up to two more decades,” said Wright.

Election Day on November 8th will determine if the judges will keep their seat.

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